Ed Sheeran Makes ACM Awards Debut Alongside Luke Combs 

It’s Ed Sheeran’s first rodeo at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards. The pop sensation delivered a performance of his new track, “Life Goes On.”

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Although the singer is a pop sensation, Sheeran has proved he has a country storytelling soul. The platinum-selling artist took the spotlight tonight (May 11) from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. 

As the lights turned low and the audience grew silent, Sheeran’s soulful voice echoed throughout the stadium. With an acoustic guitar wrapped around his neck, the platinum-selling performer conveys his fear of losing his wife, Cherry Seaborn, to cancer. 

To tell me how, how my life goes on with you gone? | I suppose I’ll sink like a stone | If you leave me now, oh, the storms will roll | Easy come, hard go, then life goes on, sings Sheeran. I miss the flames, the heated reserve | Oh, I’d remember thе way that you put me first | And what a heart-wrenching shamе | That you’ll never know, just like tears in the rain, mmm. 

The performance was stripped-down, ditching the original sound of the viola and piano. Country sensation Luke Combs surprised the audience, joining him on the second verse – intertwining their buttery baritone vocals. Following the emotional-driven duet, the audience catapulted to their feet to give the good friends an explosive round of applause. 

Seaborn was initially diagnosed with a tumor while pregnant with their second daughter. When they discovered the devastating news, the hitmaker turned to music and wrote seven songs in four hours, including “Life Goes On.” In Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, a four-part series released on May 3, 2023, Seaborn confirmed that she’s cancer-free. 

Ahead of the 2023 ACM Awards, the international superstar spoke with Billboard and declared that his appearance has been in the works for some time. He said that Combs initially extended the invite to perform. He kept the collaboration hush-hush but mentioned that he would consider dipping his toes in country music more often. 

“I talk about this to my wife all the time. I would love to transition into country,” the crooner told the outlet during rehearsals. “I love the culture of it, I just love the songwriting. It’s just like brilliant songs.” 

Nashville, Tennessee, was once considered home to Sheeran, as he planted roots from 2013 – 2018 to “Dive” into the close-knit songwriting community – one that he’s quite fond of. While praising the esteemed songsmiths that make up Music Row, he pointed out that Europe lacks a supportive songwriting scene. 

“It’s like a community. There’s not really a place in Europe where you could point and say, ‘That’s the home of songwriting,'” shared Sheeran. “It’s not just for country music. Nashville is just a hub of incredible songwriters, incredible performers. And I really felt inspired just being there being around everyone.” 

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

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Luke Combs Delivers Touching Performance of “Love You Anyway” at 2023 ACM Awards